Research & Biotechnology

We are St. Luke’s.  We are R&B.

Sitting quietly inside the sprawling complex of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City is a three-storey facility where doctors, scientists and researchers consistently search for answers to the vast questions of the medical universe in their effort to lay the groundwork for Medicine of the Future.

The Research and Biotechnology (R&B) Group was established in 1995 as a partnership between scientists and physicians, all dedicated in their pursuit of quality research and the utilization of its yield in the promotion of health and treatment of disease.

SLMC, through R&B, is the highest ranking medical center in the Philippines in terms of research productivity.

R&B, as a flagship of St. Luke’s Medical Center, currently holds the record as having the highest number of global clinical trials in the Philippines with 246 clinical trials tucked under its belt.   It has 29 international and 15 local research linkages, partnerships and collaborations.   It is the sole institution in the country that offers a Master of Science Program in Molecular Medicine.   It is a trailblazer in translational research, having established the Health Services Outcomes Research (HSOR) Unit that aims to render research output into actual clinical utility.

In the past two years alone, St. Luke’s researches achieved outstanding and widespread recognition, with 40 publications in international scientific journals, 46 presentations in international scientific meetings, 41 publications in national scientific journals, and 73 presentations in national scientific meetings. Presently, there are 151 research projects implemented or under implementation, 12 Databank Research Projects, and eight (8) Research Study Groups running.

Through R&B, research at St. Luke’s is conducted under the strictest standards. All researches must pass the scrutiny of the Institutional Scientific Review Committee (ISRC) and the Institutional Ethics Review Committee (IERC).   The IERC is accredited nationally by the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) with the highest level of accreditation (Level 3), and recognized internationally by the Forum for Ethics Review Committees in Asia and Western Pacific (FERCAP).   The R&B founded a Center for Human Research Protection, the only one of its kind in the country today, to assure the public that the rights, safety and well-being of human research participants are protected.   It also instituted an Office of Research Integrity (ORI) to uphold stringent standards in medical and scientific research.

R&B conducts regular seminars and workshops for International Conference on Harmonisation – Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP), protocol reviews, research protocol preparation, scientific paper writing and evidence-based medicine.

We are Pioneers in Our Field

We developed the Philippines’ first serologic detection test for dengue in 1998.

Molecular tests for more diseases followed, available only in St. Luke’s Medical Center, in our now-established tradition of pioneering these developments:

  • Dengue serological detections assay
  • Chikungunya virus detection
  • BRAFv600e molecular test for determining aggressiveness of thyroid cancer
  • Test for Leukemias:  cytogenetics and fluorescence hybridization (FISH)
  • Test for Alzheimer’s dementia:  APO E Genotyping text
  • Identification of unknown microbial infections by DNA sequencing

Other pioneering tests are undergoing further testing and optimization:

  • Molecular biomarker for colon cancer, through Microsatellite Instability (MSI) testing
  • Genetic testing for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
  • Analytic chemistry technique for gene expression imaging in PET scan
  • Rapid point-of-care strip test for detection of dengue infections
  • Detection test for Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses

We also initiated the development of disease databanks in the country, starting with the Stroke and Colon Cancer Databanks.

R&B received the “Outstanding Health Research Award” from the Philippine Council for Health Research Development (PCHRD) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2002 for its Dengue Project.

Our Main Areas of Current Research

  • Cancer:  Colon, Stomach, Liver, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Digestive Diseases:  Liver diseases, H. pylori infection
  • Infectious Diseases:  Dengue, Hepatitis, Japanese encephalitis, Chikungunya, Rotavirus, and Influenza viruses
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Hematologic (Blood) Disorders:  Leukemias and Thalassemia
  • Neurologic Disorders:  Stroke, Dementia
  • Stem Cell Research:  Ocular Surface Diseases
  • Metabolic Disorders:  Diabetes mellitus
  • Cardiovascular Diseases:  Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Pulmonary Disorders
  • Drug discovery from natural products

Present Capabilities of Our Research Facilities

  • Center for Clinical Trials (CCT)
  • Contract Research Services
  • Biobanking
  • Biomedical Engineering Research Center (BiMER)
  • Electron Microscopy
  • Microbiology and Virology Sequencing Techniques
  • Molecular Cytogenetics and Genomics
  • Tissue and Cell Biology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Assay Development